The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) last month signed two contracts for a new training system to replace its ageing Pacific Aerospace CT-4E Airtrainer piston-engined trainers–currently shared by the Central Flying School and Pilot Training School.
At the heart of the new $128 million system are 11 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II turboprop trainers and two CAE simulators. The contracts also cover parts, training, logistics and maintenance support. Local company Safe Air has been selected as sub-contractor to assist with implementation of the system.
As well as taking over the primary training mission from the Airtrainer, the T-6Cs will also be used to replace King Air 200s employed in the advanced training phase. A number of them will also be flown by senior instructors who form the “Red Checkers” aerobatic display team, which currently flies CT-4Es.
Two T-6Cs are scheduled for delivery to the RNZAF’s training base at Ohakea in November to initiate the induction phase, with the remaining nine due by mid-2015. At that point it is intended that the training system will become available for pilot training. Following the T-6C course RNZAF pilots will progress to operational squadrons for conversion training. The RNZAF currently has no tactical jet capability, its front-line fixed-wing types being the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orion, and Boeing 757.